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9 reasons you should be truly terrified of Andrea Leadsom becoming Prime Minister

We’ve trawled through the Tory leadership candidate’s blog so you don’t have to.

With polls suggesting Andrea Leadsom will be one of the two Tory leadership candidates put to a vote of the members, it’s only natural to be curious about what this potential prime minister believes.

Luckily, she's been busily keeping a blog for the last decade.

It turns out she has strong views on babies' brains, and thinks she may have discovered the secret to preventing a repeat of the riots which plagued London in 2011.

Intriguingly, for a Leave campaigner who has talked down financial panic in recent weeks, she also thinks losing UK's AAA credit rating is a Very Bad Idea. 

Here are some of the more controversial and divisive positions she has taken:

1. Gay couples to the back of the adoption queue

Back in 2009, Leadsom used an adoption case – in which the two children of a heroin addict were given to a GAY couple (!?!?) – to question just when enough is enough when it comes to gay rights. “And if that weren’t enough, the two strangers are a gay couple, who have been selected ahead of several heterosexual couples.”

2. Watch out for those single parents

In 2006, she wrote that "the child of a single parent family is 70 per cent more likely (than the child of a two-parent family) to have problems at school, and even to become a drug addict or a criminal.”

Tough luck for all you children of single parents out there.

3. And that anti-marriage media

“The self indulgence and carelessness of non-committed adult relationships is proving fatal to the next generation,” she wrote in 2008. 

Not married? Prepare for a life of DANGER.

4. Losing a triple-A credit rating is bad news after all

“If a downgrade happens, it is a huge blow for our economy, and will potentially set us back several years on repaying our debts, and returning our finances to health,” Leadsom wrote in 2009. 

Since the vote for Brexit, both S&P’s and Moody’s have downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA-. Shouldn’t someone have reminded her of this 2009 blog post during the referendum campaign?

5. Those baby-brained rioters

"I explained how secure attachment or parental love literally hard wires the baby's brain," Leadsom wrote in 2012. 

Leadsom has long campaigned around parental attachment, and reportedly spent several minutes talking about babies' brains at the first Tory leadership hustings, to the bemusement of fellow MPs.

6. No money for wind farms

“I completely welcome the announcement from the European Commission made recently regarding the possibility of ending all subsidies for winds farms,” she wrote in 2014.

Leadsom became energy minister the year after this comment. The renewables industry employs more than 250,000 people in the UK, as well as helping to build a sustainable energy policy, but clearly it's still a waste of money.

7. Who needs a special relationship? 

“He [Obama] shouldn’t be sticking his oar into an issue that isn’t his concern,” Leadsom wrote after the US president warned that Britain would be "at the back of the queue" in trade negotiations if it left the EU.

Let’s hope she develops a more favourable relationship with any future US President.

8. Those US Presidents getting invites before us

“How can France be hosting the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings with Sarkozy and Obama (neither of them a twinkle in their father's eye in 1945) in attendance, and yet the Queen of Britain, Canada, and Australia (who was not only alive, but who also served in the war) was not invited until two weeks ago?”

9. She likes bankers getting bonuses

“I should think the Finance Ministers of France, Germany and Switzerland (to name but three!) will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of London’s financial services pre-eminence being scuppered in one move... Big populist gestures like this one now proposed by the Chancellor will not solve the problem.”

We must not do anything to antagonise bankers! Of course, a Brexit that leaves the UK's financial services industry in jeopardy is quite another matter

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Tackling tuition fees may not be the vote-winner the government is hoping for

In theory, Theresa May is right to try to match Labour’s policy. But could it work?

Part of the art of politics is to increase the importance of the issues you win on and to decrease or neutralise the importance of the issues your opponent wins on. That's part of why Labour will continue to major on police cuts, as a device to make the usually Labour-unfriendly territory of security more perilous for the Tories.

One of the advantages the Conservatives have is that they are in government – I know it doesn't always look like it – and so they can do a lot more to decrease the importance of Labour's issues than the Opposition can do to theirs.

So the theory of Theresa May's big speech today on higher education funding and her announcement of a government review into the future of the university system is sound. Tuition fees are an area that Labour win on, so it makes sense to find a way to neutralise the issue.

Except there are a couple of problems with May's approach. The first is that she has managed to find a way to make a simple political question incredibly difficult for herself. The Labour offer is “no tuition fees”, so the Conservatives essentially either need to match that or move on. But the one option that has been left off the table is abolition, the only policy lever that could match Labour electorally.

The second, even bigger problem is that it it turns out that tuition fees might not have been the big election-moving event that we initially thought they were. The British Electoral Survey caused an earthquake of their own by finding that the “youthquake” – the increase in turn-out among 18-24-year-olds – never happened. Younger voters were decisive, both in how they switched to Labour and in the overall increase in turnout among younger voters, but it was in that slightly older 25-35 bracket (and indeed the 35-45 one as well) that the big action occurred.

There is an astonishingly powerful belief among the Conservative grassroots, such as it is, that Jeremy Corbyn's NME interview in which the he said that existing tuition fee debt would be “dealt with” was decisive. That belief, I'm told, extends all the way up to May's press chief, Robbie Gibb. Gibb is the subject of increasing concern among Tory MPs and ministers, who regularly ask journalists what they make of Robbie, if Robbie is doing alright, before revealing that they find his preoccupations – Venezuela, Corbyn's supposed pledge to abolish tuition fee debt – troublingly marginal.

Because the third problem is that any policy action on tuition fees comes at a huge cost to the Treasury, a cost that could be spent easing the pressures on the NHS, which could neutralise a Labour strength, or the financial strains on schools, another area of Labour strength. Both of which are of far greater concern to the average thirtysomething than what anyone says or does about tuition fees.

Small wonder that Team Corbyn are in an ebullient mood as Parliament returns from recess.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.